Magazine article Artforum International

Grazia Toderi: MAXXI NATIONAL MUSEUM OF XXI CENTURY ARTS

Magazine article Artforum International

Grazia Toderi: MAXXI NATIONAL MUSEUM OF XXI CENTURY ARTS

Article excerpt

Mapping earth and sky from airborne viewpoints, Grazia Toderi challenges both gravity and the horizon, calling into question the facts of objective reality and representing, in a theater of wonders, the relationship between the human world and the universe, between terrestrial geometry and that of the firmament. In the five video pieces in this show, which cover more than ten years of work, Toderi utilizes computer-animated aerial photographs of Rome to reveal a city dense with luminous energy, an astonishing living organism that breathes and emits pulsating signals. The vestiges of the city's millennial history catch fire with minuscule points of light that-trace the perimeters of buildings and piazzas and illuminate domes, shining like stars. The sites of the city's political, social, and artistic history become the terrain on which polis and poetry meet.

In Italo Calvino's Invisibie Cities, the metropolis of Andria has streets that follow the orbits of the planets, and its buildings repeat the order of the constellations and positions of the brightest stars, in a faithful reflection between earth and sky. In similar fashion, in Toderi's Mirabilia Urbis, 2001, the historic sites and ancient monuments of Rome the Colosseum, the Campidoglio, Piazza San Pietro, and Castel Sane' A Angclo, among others) become celestial maps and geometries--a sort of fantastical, metaphysical cartography. The oculus of the Pantheon pulsates like an exploding nova; the Big Dipper is inscribed on. the Quirinal Palace and its gardens. Streets and piazzas vibrate with the intensity of a distant nebula, curving like constellations, and the bluish-green tone of the images amplifies the effect of the starlit nighttime sky. The slow movement of rotation and the approaching/distancing of the images are accompanied by a powerful background sound, indistinct, with low frequencies and variable intensities: a sort of galactic white noise that seems to originate from the depths of the universe. …

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